A licence plate number offered by a witness helped lead to the arrest of a suspect in an attempted abduction involving two teenage girls Monday night in Saanich.
A 34-year-old Saanich resident is in custody after the incident in the 1700 block of De Souza Place that involved two 17-year-olds, one of whom suffered minor injuries.
Twelve investigators, including members of the major crimes unit, patrol officers and forensics technicians, were involved in the investigation, which began with multiple 911 calls about 6:30 p.m. The calls were prompted by a womans screams for help.
A white U-Haul van was mentioned in the calls and the first arriving officer noticed a vehicle matching that description driving from the area with a side door open.
The officer said the van headed directly toward the police vehicle. By the time evasive action was taken, the van had sped away.
A 17-year-old girl had been grabbed while in the driveway of her home, and her screams were heard by her mother and a friend, also 17, inside the house. The girl came out to help and received what was described by police as a laceration wound as she attempted to intervene.
The young lady was actually placed in the van, said Saanich police spokesman Dean Jantzen during a news conference Tuesday afternoon. We believe the direct actions of the second 17-year-old young lady really assisted with allowing the initial victim to escape the vehicle before it took off.
The licence plate number provided by the witness started a search that included the request for assistance from other police departments, cab companies, B.C. Transit and B.C. Ferries.
Investigators tracked the vehicles plate number to a local U-Haul outlet, which led to the identification of a possible suspect. That person was located just before 11 p.m. Monday near the intersection of Hillside Avenue and Cedar Hill Road.
The victim of the attempted abduction was unhurt but traumatized, police said. The 17-year-old who intervened suffered a laceration type injury that required stitches. She was taken to hospital and released overnight.
Jantzen said there was no obvious linkage between the two teenage girls and the suspect. He said the victim was likely a specific target but that police were trying to sort out the why of the case.
Realtor Lindsay Buziak was stabbed to death in a home she was showing on De Souza Place in 2008. That case has not been solved but Saanich police did not indicate there was a connection between any ongoing investigations and Monday nights abduction attempt.
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